podiatrist accused of healthcare fraud and aggravated identity theft while operating Dr. Petty’s Foot Clinic in Texarkana, Texas, may plead guilty in the coming months.
According to a motion filed Friday in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas federal court, Petty’s lawyer, Thomas Johnson of Texarkana, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Locker have been in negotiations which are expected to end with a plea from 53-year-old Gregg Petty. Petty is facing 22 counts of healthcare fraud and nine counts of aggravated identity theft for crimes including billing Medicare for procedures he claimed were performed on patients who were dead.
“The current plea deadline for this case was set for June 27, 2017. Counsel for the government has been in regular contact with defendant’s counsel, Tommy Johnson. Prior to this week, both counsel discussed the pending deadline and anticipated that a plea agreement would be reached. However, earlier this week, counsel for the government received news from Mr. Johnson that he had been admitted to a Dallas-area hospital for a severe medical condition. Counsel for the government is unaware of the extent of the condition or the recovery timeline,” states the motion filed June 30 by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Locker.
U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III granted the government’s motion and set a new plea deadline of Aug. 29.
Petty is accused of stealing more than $150,000 from U.S. taxpayers from September 2010 to January 2013 through fraudulent Medicare billing.
The indictment’s first 13 counts accuse Petty of billing Medicare for office visits and treatments using Health Insurance Claim Numbers of people who were dead at the time he allegedly saw them in Dr. Petty’s Foot Clinic. Some of the patients had been deceased for more than a year and some just a week or two when Petty allegedly submitted claims for services rendered following their dates of death.
Four counts accuse Petty of billing Medicare for physical therapy when in reality all the patients received were written or verbal instructions on how to exercise at home. Five counts allege Petty billed Medicare for “electronic stimulation treatments” that were performed with a non-approved device called a MicroVas. Those counts further allege the MicroVas treatments were administered by clinic staff and Petty’s teenage son who were not qualified to deliver services reimbursable by Medicare. The indictment’s last nine counts accuse Petty of aggravated identity theft on multiple dates in 2011 and 2012.
A notice of forfeiture in Petty’s indictment spells out the government’s intent to acquire a $157,660 judgment against Dr. Petty.
Each of the 22 counts of health care fraud is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. Each of the nine counts of identity theft carries a mandatory two-year federal prison sentence which “is to run consecutively to any other sentence imposed. A person convicted of a violation of this section shall not be placed on probation,” the indictment states.
Petty is also facing a civil lawsuit in Bowie County district court. Four former patients allege he misdiagnosed them and performed botched surgical procedures.
Petty’s clinic in Texarkana has closed and a website for a clinic he once operated in Frisco, Texas, is no longer available. Petty is currently free on an unsecured appearance bond of $50,000.